The Block Island Times

Featured Letter: Jacke project completed

Apr 29, 2012

To: the Editor—

Earlier this month, the Block Island Housing Board handed keys to Wyatt Helterline and Joan Baker for their new homes on Champlin Road. As you can imagine, it was a landmark day for the Housing Board as well, marking the completion of our first project.

It is also notable that the project is a complete reflection of how the Block Island community can and does function at its best. These two homes are truly “home grown." We received no state or federal assistance to make this happen. As with most things on Block Island, they became a reality through local vision, local effort and hard work.

It began with the Town Council’s vision to create a Housing Board to address island housing issues. Hope grew as island homeowners faithfully sent in 1 percent of their summer rental earnings, contributing to a fund that would ultimately build the two houses. It became a possibility because Ellen Jacke took a leadership role and developed a model to enable homeowners to create affordable lots. It became real as local contractors gave us their best prices and their best efforts.

The Housing Board would especially like to thank Ben Martin and his crew, of Coastal Quality Construction. Thanks to Ben, the houses are beautifully constructed and the project was completed on time and on budget.

Area businesses also demonstrated their commitment to our community by their generosity. The island and the board thanks:
Arnold Lumber and Kevin Kennedy for sharpening their pencil on all of the
supplies and material we needed. Kevin was also key in persuading other vendors to support us.
Boise Cascade donated the engineered floor system for both houses.
Anderson Windows offered deep discounts on all doors and windows.
Huber Engineered Woods donated all wall, roof and floor sheathing for both
Frank Karpowitz and Associates provided architectural drawings at cost.

Richard Greene and Associates extended significant discounts on their workWashington Trust and Cynthia Valenti Smith provided financing as well as good counsel every step of the way.

Blish and Cavanagh and Bill Landry for direction and legal services

Local contractors played a huge role in the success of the project. The board would like to thank all who assisted, including: Bill Connelli, Bill Carey, Seth Draper, Sprague Corporation, Batchelder Well Drilling, A. Transue Corporation, Tyler Electrical, Tripler Plumbing and Heating, Hull Suburban Propane and Jack Savoie.

Special thanks to Nancy Dodge and Kim Gaffett for their support and to the Zoning and Planning Boards and Marc Tillson for their guidance and patience.

Finally, we want to thank past board members who completed their terms and spent countless hours laying the foundation for the project: Doug Michel, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Emmanuelle, Gerry Riker and our administrative assistant Bonnie Ryan for keeping us on track through the process.

I guess it truly does “take a village."

With our thanks and appreciation,

Cindy Pappas
Housing Board Chair

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